TU Wien Informatics

How AI may threaten the political capacity of human intelligence

  • 2022-03-29
  • Public Lecture
  • Event
  • Social Responsibility

Benjamin Gregg talks about how some forms of artificial intelligence may one day threaten the political capacity of human intelligence.

How AI may threaten the political capacity of human intelligence

  • This is an online-only event.
    See description for details.


There is no agreement as to what intelligence is, whether human or artificial (AI). But we can hardly wait for consensus in light of rapid developments in science and technology that generate urgent normative questions about how political communities might best to respond to those developments. I attempt to identify what I take to be the political capabilities of human intelligence (HI). For example, as members of political community, individuals need to be able, mutually, to attribute responsibility for actions. But some forms of AI eventually may threaten this capacity of HI. For example, AI might tempt citizens to outsource, to technology, forms of social integration that otherwise require the mutual attribution of responsibility among citizens. To be sure, AI in some cases can contribute positively to the tasks of social integration. And if there are political dangers, they will derive not from AI as such but rather from how humans deploy it.

About Benjamin Gregg

Benjamin Gregg teaches social and political theory, as well as bioethics, informed by philosophy and sociology, at the University of Texas at Austin but also in Germany (Frankfurt/O.), Austria (Linz and Innsbruck), Sweden (Lund), Japan (Tokyo and Hokkaido), China (Beijing), and Brazil (Goiãnia). He studied with Michael Walzer in Princeton, Axel Honneth in Berlin, and Seyla Benhabib at Yale. In addition to more than eighty articles, he is the author of The Human Rights State (Pennsylvania, 2016); Human Rights as Social Construction (Cambridge, 2012); Thick Moralities, Thin Politics (Duke, 2003); and Coping in Politics with Indeterminate Norms (SUNY, 2003). Cambridge University Press will publish his newest book, Constructing Human Nature: The Political Challenges of Genetic Engineering, in 2022. His work has been translated into German, Portuguese, Italian, Japanese, and Chinese. He is the 2021-2022 Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Public International Law at Lund University, Sweden. He will be a Visiting Researcher at the Centre for Biomedical Ethics, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, this coming summer.

About Stefan Woltran

Stefan Woltran is full professor of Foundations of Artificial Intelligence at TU Wien and head of the research unit Databases and AI. His research focuses on problems in the area of knowledge representation and reasoning, argumentation, complexity analysis in AI and logic programming. In the winter term 2013, he held a deputy professorship at Leipzig University. In 2013, he also received the prestigious START award from the Austrian Science Fund (FWF). He acted as PC Chair for the 10th International Symposium on Foundations of Information and Knowledge Systems (FoIKS’18) and for the 15th International Conference on Logic Programming and Non-monotonic Reasoning (LPNMR’19). He has lead several research projects funded by FWF and Vienna Science and Technology Fund. Since 2018 he is a fellow of the European Association for Artificial Intelligence. Since 2020 he serves as Vicedean of Academic Affairs of the Faculty of Informatics at TU Wien.

Online Event

We are looking forward to seeing you:

  • Participate via Zoom (meeting: 9638 9928 143, password: 0dzqxqiy).
  • The talk will also be live streamed and recorded on our YouTube Channel.
  • For further announcements and information, please visit the DIGHUM Website, which also provides slides and recordings of all our past events.

The DIGHUM Lecture Series

Digital Humanism deals with the complex relationship between man and machine. It acknowledges the potential of Informatics and IT. At the same time, it points to related apparent threats such as privacy violations, ethical concerns with AI, automation, and loss of jobs, and the ongoing monopolization on the Web. The Corona crisis has shown these two faces of the accelerated digitalization—we are in a crucial moment in time.

For this reason, we started the DIGHUM Lecture Series, a new initiative with regular online events to discuss the different aspects of Digital Humanism. We will have a speaker on a specific topic (30 minutes) followed by a discussion of 30 minutes every second Tuesday of each month at 5:00 PM CEST. This crisis seriously affects our mobility, but it also offers the possibility to participate in events from all over the world—let’s take this chance to meet virtually.

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